Archive for ‘Misc’


Dubai achieves 96.3% transformation to smart government

Dubai’s two year plan for m-government has resulted in an accomplishment rate of 96.3% across the 337 most important government departments, according to an official announcement from news agency WAM.

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was presented with a report on the achievement of Dubai government entities in reaching the target of launching comprehensive m-government services by this month. Forty-one government departments succeeded in achieving the shift to m-Services within 730 days.

HH Sheikh Mohammed said that the next step would be to focus on increasing usage of m-government services to 80% and raising satisfaction with the services. He added that a star rating will be introduced to show quality of service, and that the most important achievement over the past two years was the shift in mindset among government departments.

HH Sheikh Mohammed said: “Work teams managed to complete the shift to m-Services. The next stage is to link all services together, improve the quality of smart applications and achieve a high satisfaction rate for smart services. The report also explains that the low numbers of users of some m-Government services were attributed to low awareness of users and sometimes to the difficulty to use these services.”

“The target of raising the number of m-Service users to 80% by 2018 has been set. The report also shows varied degrees of quality and user-friendliness of the services… We want these services to be more streamlined, faster and simpler. We also want the customers to be happier than they were in the past years,” he added.

“The two-year deadline was not meant to be a scourge hanging over work teams. Rather, it was meant to be just like any other ordinary practice in administration and leadership where a timeline is set for fulfilling each target that we have. The aim of our government is not to keep pace with the ongoing technological and scientific developments in the UAE but to lead these developments. This is no easy challenge.”

HH Sheikh Mohammed also said: “The most important change that was taking place over two past years was the change of mentality, the culture of government services and the archaic definition. Today, delivery of services no longer relies on buildings and thousands of employees, but on advanced systems and innovative minds. In the near future, we will see yet bigger and faster changes.”

The report on the progress of the m-government initiative was presented in a meeting which was also attended by Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gargawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs; Mohamad Ahmad Al-Qamzi, Chairman of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of (TRA); Khalifa Saeed Sulaiman, Director General of Dubai’s Protocol Department; Ohood Al Roumi, Director-General Office of the Prime Minister; Hamad Al Mansouri, Director-General of the UAE mGovernment Initiative and Director-General of the TRA.

HH Sheikh Mohammed launched the mobile government initiative in May 22, 2013.

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Technology to re-dynamise ME job markets

Middle East policy makers and the private sector have been urged to promote employment in the emerging digital economy sector in the Middle East region, according to a report presented during the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa 2015.

With 40 million under-unemployed youth and 27 million not in education, employment, or training, the Middle East and North Africa has the highest rate of youth unemployment in the world at 27.2%, according to the World Economic Forum, presenting a serious problem for a region where more than half the 369 million inhabitants are under 25.

Demonstrating the growing demand for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) jobs, the Middle East’s ICT industry value is set to reach $173 billion in 2015, more than double the value in 2010, and projected to create nearly 4.4 million jobs by 2020, according to research firm Strategy&.

However, enabling youth employment will require decision makers from government, the private sector, academia, and civil society to collaborate on adapting academic curricula to better integrate ICT learning, upskill students and workers with ICT and e-business skills, and create an environment that encourages entrepreneurship and small-business job creation, according to the report.

As Internet penetration has jumped 294% in the region between 2007 and 2012, technology has the potential to impact every aspect of labour markets, including better matching of jobs across all sectors, facilitating up-skilling, empowering entrepreneurs, and providing actionable data to decision-makers. The Millennial generation of people aged under 25 are digitally connected as never before, according to the report.

The report “Re-Dynamising the Job Machine: Technology-Driven Transformation of Labor Markets in MENA,” has been produced jointly by INSEAD Business School, the Centre for Economic Growth in Abu Dhabi, and SAP.

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Google ‘mad scientist’ patents robot toy for kids

A recent Google patent application describes a smart doll that will be capable of talking to children and transmitting remote commands to other devices based on the outcome of the dialogue.

The application, dated 21 May, 2015, describes in its abstract “an anthropomorphic device, perhaps in the form factor of a doll or toy [that] may be configured to control one or more media devices”.

“Upon reception or a detection of a social cue, such as movement and/or a spoken word or phrase, the anthropomorphic device may aim its gaze at the source of the social cue. In response to receiving a voice command, the anthropomorphic device may interpret the voice command and map it to a media device command. Then, the anthropomorphic device may transmit the media device command to a media device, instructing the media device to change state.”

The application includes sketches of a teddy bear and a toy rabbit, both of which include components such as speakers, microphones, motors and cameras.

Inventors of the technology are listed on the application as Daniel Aminzade, a Stanford-educated Google software engineer, and Richard Wayne DeVaul, whose LinkedIn profile says that for the past two years he has been “Director of Rapid Evaluation and Mad Science” at Google X.

According to The Register, the application lists further forms of the technology as a dragon or an alien.

“Young children might find these forms to be attractive,” the patent application reads. “However, individuals of all ages may find interacting with these anthropomorphic devices to be more natural than interacting with traditional types of user interfaces.”

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AWS now 10X the size of its competitors: Is the cloud arms race over?

What a difference a year makes in cloud cuckoo land!

Despite increased traction from Microsoft Azure, punishing price reductions from Google, and a lot of wishful thinking from most everywhere else, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has managed to double its lead against its Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) competitors.

That’s right, double it.

While Gartner found that AWS had 5X the utilized capacity of its next nearest 14 competitors combined, in 2015 the venerable analyst firm finds that number has exploded to 10X.

Is this cloud arms race already over?

Hegemony by any other name…

There are at least two ways to look the cloud race, and both favor AWS. The first is to take Gartner’s Magic Quadrant (MQ) for IaaS, which incorporates a range of attributes (ability to execute, etc.) to come up with a composite score that evaluates the strength of different cloud vendors.

It’s not surprising to see AWS dominate the IaaS market. But it is, perhaps, surprising to see just how dominant it is, given the progress Microsoft Azure has made over the past year, in particular (Figure A).

is founded on a mix of technology innovation and business execution.

As Gartner finds, “AWS has a diverse customer base and the broadest range of use cases, including enterprise and mission-critical applications….[It has] attract[ed] a very large technology partner ecosystem that includes software vendors that have licensed and packaged their software to run on AWS, as well as many vendors that have integrated their software with AWS capabilities.”

On one hand, AWS’ investment in core infrastructure helps it drive “relentless economies of scale,” borrowing Redmonk analyst Stephen O’Grady’s phrase, but those same economies of scale, or network effects, are pushing it forward in terms of its business ecosystem.

The big get bigger

As useful as the MQ is, another way to measure AWS’ lead is by adoption. And in this category, AWS blows everyone else away.

According to Gartner, while in 2014 AWS offered 5X the utilized cloud capacity of its next nearest 14 competitors combined, in 2015 AWS delivers over 10X the utilized cloud capacity of its largest 14 competitors combined.

If ever there was hegemony, this is it.

AWS dominance doesn’t derive from low-balling its competitors, either. As shown in its latest earnings call, AWS is highly profitable, even despite multitudinous price reductions over the years.

No, AWS dominates because it innovates, as Gartner notes:

AWS is a thought leader; it is extraordinarily innovative, exceptionally agile, and very responsive to the market. It has the richest array of IaaS features and PaaS-like capabilities. It continues to rapidly expand its service offerings and offer higher-level solutions. Although it is beginning to face more competition from Microsoft and Google, it retains a multiyear competitive advantage.

In this way, AWS has become the “safe choice,” declares Gartner, which suggests dominance for many years to come as enterprises find their way to the cloud. Years ago Microsoft achieved this same dominance on the desktop. Apparently there’s something in the water in Seattle.

Can anyone catch up?

Gartner pegs AWS’ lead at multiple years. But Microsoft, in particular, isn’t sitting still.

According to Gartner, Microsoft’s utilized compute capacity is twice as big as the next 12 competitors combined. That’s significant.

As much as companies go with AWS to build the future, they’re trying Microsoft Azure to bridge their past infrastructure investments to the future. As Gartner highlights, “Microsoft Azure encompasses integrated IaaS and PaaS components that operate and feel like a unified whole. Microsoft has been rapidly rolling out new features and services, including differentiated capabilities.”

In other words, “It has a vision of infrastructure and platform services that are not only leading stand-alone offerings, but also seamlessly extend and interoperate with on-premises Microsoft infrastructure (rooted in Hyper-V, Windows Server, Active Directory and System Center), development tools (including Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server), and applications, as well as Microsoft’s SaaS offerings.” That’s a compelling vision for many Microsoft shops.

Still, Microsoft has a long way to go. Ditto Google. But at least they’re in the same universe.

For everyone that isn’t AWS, Microsoft, or Google, which dominate the cloud IaaS market, cloud life looks like a rounding error, with no clear differentiation to help them catch up.

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Rombertik is CarbonGrabber with a sting in the tail for cheapskates

Rombertik is a Trojan horse that’s been making apocalyptic headlines of late. All the column inches generated were mainly due to reports suggesting that the malware is specifically targeting security researchers by “trashing the user’s computer if it detects it’s being analyzed.”

This, of course, sounds like a doomsday scenario for security researchers like us so we took a closer look at this threat to see what all the fuss was about. What we discovered is that Rombertik is not actually targeting security researchers at all. Instead, the destructive payload is a rather crude and buggy implementation of a draconian digital rights protection mechanism designed to prevent unlicensed use. Intrigued? Let’s find out more.

Rombertik is actually a newer version of an underground crimeware kit known as Carbon FormGrabber or Carbon Grabber for short (detected by Symantec as Infostealer.Retgate). It was created by a commercial criminal enterprise. The product is sold on underground forums to cybercriminals who don’t have the skills to create their own malware.

problem for those providing Carbon Grabber through the underground business model is that they encounter the same issues of piracy and unauthorized use as any normal commercial software business does. So what is the malware provider to do?

Legitimate software vendors often add protection mechanisms that prevent the software from being used without a license, but that’s usually the extent of the “damage” caused to digital pirates. In the cybercrime world, things are a bit more cut throat.

The primary purpose of Carbon Grabber is to steal information and provide back door access to a compromised computer. The destructive routines contained in this new version of Carbon Grabber can wipe the Master Boot Record (MBR) and encrypt most file types on the compromised computer. When the destructive routine is completed, it renders the computer unusable and can potentially cause an irrecoverable loss of data.

Much of the discourse has been about the destructive routines and their implied effects on the computers compromised by it, but the destructive functionality is not something that regular customers of Carbon Grabber have access to. Instead, this code is set up to only spring its trap if the Trojan detects that a user is trying to tamper with its code to make it do something it wasn’t licensed to do. Let’s take a closer look at how this nasty surprise can be triggered.

Setting a trap for script kiddies and n00bz
Each copy of Carbon Grabber is built and licensed for a particular user. It is built to only contact a predefined command-and-control (C&C) server as specified by the paying customer. It does this by embedding the address of the C&C server within its own binary code.

For any novice cybercriminals who have managed to get a copy of the malware and would like to use it without paying, they could, with just some basic skills, identify the C&C address and attempt to change it to point to another address of their choice by simply hacking the binary file itself.

However, if they were foolish enough to do this, they would unwittingly trigger the destructive protection mechanism. This is probably intended as punishment for the attempt to subvert the malware and explains why the Trojan will display the following message after the destructive payload is triggered.

this is what happens if you try to subvert Carbon Grabber and fail. But is there a way for somebody to do it successfully? As it turns out, the protection is not water tight and there is a way around it because of an implementation error on the part of the malware developer.

Avoiding the trap
Let’s take a closer look at how the protection mechanism works and by doing that, we can see where the error lies. Examining the binary of the malware, we can see that the malicious payload has three resources in its PE file body.

The threat hides the hash of the RSA key in the compiled time field of the PE header. This hash value is compared with the hash of the key being used. If the hashes match, then everything continues as normal. However, if the script kiddie tries to replace the RSA key with a different one, the resulting hash will not match the hash stored in the compiled time field and this will then trigger the destructive payload. From our analysis, this is the only scenario that will trigger the destructive payload.

know now that changing the RSA private key to a different key will not work because it will trigger the destructive payload. How else can an attacker subvert this mechanism? If the corresponding public key was available then an attacker would not need to change the RSA private key. They could just leave the private key in place, encrypt a new URL with the public key, and place the newly encrypted URL in the correct resource and everything will work fine.

Leaving the keys under the digital doormat
Let’s take a closer look at the provided RSA key data in the resource and see what else we can find.

As we can see, the first resource is actually the PUBLICKEYSTRUC structure. The first byte of this structure indicates the type of data that it contains. In this case, the first byte has a value of 0x7 which indicates the blob contains a public/private key pair.

Is it possible that the malware developer made a basic error and included the public key needed to crack the protection mechanism within the threat binary itself? This is like leaving the house key under the door mat. We checked if the public key corresponded to the included private key and it turns out that it does! We were able to encrypt a different C&C URL using the public key and decrypt it using the included private key. This means that if somebody wanted to repurpose a copy of the Trojan without paying for a new one, they could do so using this method without triggering the destructive payload.

Punishing the cheapskates
So based on our analysis, we don’t believe that this functionality is designed as an anti-analysis feature to thwart the efforts of security researchers. Instead, this looks like it is the malware developer’s way of punishing the naive cheapskates who may be trying to use this software for free. There’s no denying the damage that this threat can cause, it really is very destructive, but this is no indiscriminate wiper Trojan.

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Free Social Media Monitoring Tools

The key to making the most of social media is listeningto what your audience has to say about you, analysing the data and, finally, reaching social media business intelligence; using all these insights to know your customers better and improve your marketing strategy.

If you are a social media rookie, this list of the Top 10 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools might come in handy. When looking for a tool, it’s a good idea to try a couple of them and choose the one that suits your needs best.

However, bear in mind that these tools are not an alternative to Enterprise-level tools, such as Brandwatch, which brought social media monitoring to a new level, offering a much higher variety of services and in-depth analysis. It all depends on your needs.

That being said, let’s take a look at some of the best free monitoring tools:

1) Hootsuite

Hootsuite is one of the best free social media management tools available, and covers multiple social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress, Foursquare and Google+.

The weekly analytics reports and the excellent team management facility (delegating tasks, sending private messages) can be very useful when there’s more than one person handling the social media accounts.

2) TweetReach

TweetReach is the right tool for your business if you’re interested in monitoring how far your tweets travel, as TweetReach measures the actual impact and implications of social media discussions.

It is a good way of finding out who are your most influential followers, implicitly guiding you towards the right people you should be targeting when aiming to share and promote online content.

3) Klout

Klout is probably one of the most controversial social media analytics tools. There are those who hate it and claim that its scoring system is completely inaccurate, and that trying to interact with them is an impossible mission (curious thing as they provide interaction-measurement services).

On the other hand, some people find it useful, as it measures influence through engagement on Twitter and it is a good means of keeping an eye on what people think about your brand, and to see what influences them the most.

In this way, you can adjust your posts according to your target audience’s interests and increase your engagement rate.

4) Social Mention

Quite popular among social media enthusiasts, Social Mention monitors over one hundred social media sites. It is probably one of the best free listening tools on the market, as it analyses data in more depth and measures influence with 4 categories: Strength, Sentiment, Passion and Reach.

5) Twazzup

Twazzup is great for social media beginners looking for a Twitter monitoring tool. You just enter the name you want to track and you instantly get real-time updates, meaning the most active top influencers, top RTd photos and links, and most importantly, the top 10 keywords related to your search.

6) Addictomatic

If aiming to get an overall view of a brand, Addictomatic can be very useful and as straightforward as Twazzup. The only difference is that Addictomatic focuses on a variety of platforms such as: Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, WordPress, Bing News, Delicious, Google,, etc. It’s really useful for keeping an eye on recent industry developments and brand reputation.

7) HowSociable

HowSociable is a handy tool for measuring yours and your competitors’ social media presence.

A free account allows you to track 12 social sites, including Tumblr and WordPress. However, if you’re interested in 24 more, such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. a pro account is required.

HowSociable’s approach is a bit different as it breaks down scores for different social media platforms, allowing you to see which social media platforms work best for you and which ones need further development.

8) IceRocket

This tool offers blog, Twitter and Facebook monitoring in 20 languages, as well as results graphs that you can play with. It allows you to choose the periods of time you are interested in monitoring.

It can be used for keeping an eye on your blogger activity, as they have around 200 million blogs in their database and they also provide the possibility of finding the latest trend terms related to your search.

9) TweetDeck

TweetDeck covers the basic needs of any Twitter user, so is a good option for beginners. It’s a great tool for scheduling tweets and monitoring your interactions and messages, as well as tracking hashtags and managing multiple accounts. However, it lacks in regular updates and can be prone to bugs.

10) Reachli (formerly Pinerli)

As image and video is quickly becoming indispensable for many businesses, our last recommendation for you is Reachli; a tool that measures and optimises video and image content. It offers various features for measuring image and video effectiveness, and is particularly famous for its Pinterest analytics.

It should be clear if you’ve got this far that the listening tool space is a crowded one.

We’ve developed our own social media monitoring technology with larger, more sophisticated organisations in mind, but we hope this list for getting started is a useful foundation. If you are interested in seeing what more complex tools like Brandwatch can offer, the please do get in touch by requesting a demo below.

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EMC intents to release the ViPR Controller as an open-source project

EMC will release its ViPR Controller storage automation and control software as an open-source project, letting third parties develop their own services and applications on top of it and possibly make ViPR work with more parts of enterprise storage environments.

The open-source release, called Project CoprHD, is set to go up on GitHub next month. It will be licensed under the Mozilla Public License 2.0 so vendors, developers and others can contribute to the code. Project CoprHD will have essentially all the capabilities of ViPR Controller, which EMC will continue to sell in a commercial version that includes service and support.

ViPR Controller is intended to turn multiple storage systems from EMC and other vendors into a single virtual pool and automate the provisioning of data capacity to applications based on policies. Among other things, it can work with most storage platforms from EMC, plus major hardware and software products from several other vendors, including HP, NetApp, HDS (Hitachi Data Systems) and Microsoft, according to EMC.

EMC wants ViPR Controller to reach as many storage platforms as possible, increasing its value to typical enterprises with multi-vendor environments. Releasing the software as open source should advance that goal, said Sam Grocott, senior vice president of marketing for EMC’s Emerging Technologies Division.

Most third-party products are more lightly integrated with ViPR Controller than EMC’s products are, so they don’t have the same feature-by-feature list of capabilities that EMC has been able to build itself.

“The hope is it will drive faster and, more importantly, deeper integration across this wide set of platforms we support today,” Grocott said. About half of EMC’s ViPR Controller business is with customers that use it with both EMC and third-party systems, he said.

ViPR can do some things no other product on the market does, but its usefulness with non-EMC storage systems is limited, IDC analyst Ashish Nadkarni said. Increasing its multivendor capability would help both EMC and its customers, and open-sourcing the code might be a good way to make that happen.

Competitors are more likely to start working with Project CoprHD than to give EMC access to their code, Nadkarni said. But how much they will actually do so remains to be seen, he said.

Third parties will be able to build new products and services based on Project CoprHD and include only the components they need. But under the licensing scheme, any modifications a developer makes to the source code have to be published as open source. EMC is committed to including all published contributions in future commercial releases of ViPR Controller.

ViPR Controller is the first commercial software EMC has released as open source, but there will be more to come, according to Grocott. Customers and partners now expect vendor intellectual property to coexist with open source, he said.

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KORE to control a lion’s share of IoT wireless traffic

“RacoWireless Omega DevCloud provides a standardized and secure platform that enables web developers to communicate with virtually any device (IoT) with an easy-to-use tool,” mentioned Landon Garner, director of marketing at KORE. “And considering the number of startup companies who do not have the expertise or the required equipment, this is important.”

racoomegadevcloud.png Image: KORE Wireless Group

Third piece of the puzzle: Omega Management Suite

RacoWireless also developed Omega Management Suite, a cloud-based management dashboard that allows clients to control their IoT devices and view sensor data. The suite offers:

  • Subscriber Insight: provides IoT-device information, usage records, historical details, billing history, and trends, allowing the sensor’s owner to make better-informed decisions.
  • Mobile Compatible: The platform is optimized for mobile devices.
  • Multi-Carrier Support: No need to manage individual telco-provider contracts — that is provisioned in the management suite.

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10 Twitter accounts to follow to help you find a tech job

When you’re on the job hunt, you’ll try just about anything. Though, after hours of perusing job boards, it’s hard to channel some creativity to how and where you look for potential employment opportunities.

If you’re on Twitter, you might consider these accounts which tweets out a variety of tech job postings from different companies in different locations around the world. This is by no means all that’s out there — these days many hiring managers and recruiters even tweet when they’ve got a position to fill. You can also keep an eye on the hashtag #techjobs to see that’s cropping up.

Here are 10 Twitter accounts that might help you find a gig in tech.

Nonprofit Tech Jobs : @NPtechJobs

If you’re interested in nonprofit work, this Twitter account focuses on exactly that. Recently tweeted job postings include a digital graphics designer for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and a database coordinator for the New York Philharmonic.

USA Technology Jobs : @TechJobsUSA

As the names suggests, this account focuses on technology jobs Stateside.

Tech Jobs : @TechJobsDirect

Along with a wide range of tech jobs, some even dipping into the medical field, this Twitter account also posts articles relevant to job hunters.

Salt : @SaltJobs

Digital recruitment agency Salt tweets out jobs for positions like UX manager and digital marketing lead, frequently with salary ranges. Most of the jobs are based in the UK.

TechFetch : @techfetch

Tech job portal TechFetch tweets out links to the job postings on their website.

Silicon Milkroundabout : @milkroundabout

Silicon Milkroundabout is a tech jobs fair for Europe, that takes place in the UK.

NanoTechJobs : @nanotechjobs

Pretty specialized, but if nanotechnology is your game, this Twitter account is for you.

GitHub Jobs : @GitHubJobs

If you’re a developer, you’re undoubtedly familiar with GitHub. Here’s their Twitter account for job listings with companies like New Relic, Wikimedia, and more. : @IT_Tech_Work_AU

Here’s another location-specific Twitter account, this time for job seekers in Australia.

NewYorkTechJobs : @NewYorkTechJobs

If you’re looking for a gig in the Big Apple (or other cities like LA, Atlanta, or Chicago), follow this Career Builder Twitter account for posting from the area.

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Two resolutions every IT leader should make in 2015: First, free up time to innovate, then innovate.

First resolution, Free up time for innovation:

5 steps to Get Things Done and free time for innovation accordingly:

The first step in GTD is to capture the things that are not on cruise control. As new ideas come to you, write them down as goals. Keep track of all your goals, big and small. It doesn’t matter how you track them – you can keep notes on your favourite mobile device or you can jot ideas down on the back of an envelope. What’s important is that you write them down so you no longer have to think about them. As Allen puts it, “make use of the techniques and the tools to build an external brain.”

The second step is to clarify each of the things you’ve captured. From time to time, take a look at your list of goals resulting from the first step. Take each goal and think about the tasks you need to carry out to accomplish the goal. Think about who else you need to involve and develop a very basic project plan. The most important undertaking during this second step is to identify what your next action needs to be for each of your projects.

The third step is to organise the results into appropriate categories. Given the set of projects you have, and the set of tasks you need to carry out to finish the projects, try to group your actions by context.

The fourth step is to reflect and review all of your commitments in the different categories. Take a look at your different tasks in the different contexts and prioritise your next actions. Review your commitments frequently as you finish work and as things change around you. Re-prioritise your next actions as appropriate.

Finally, the fifth step is to make intuitive decisions every day on which of the next actions from your different categories you’ll work on now.

2- Innovate:
How to innovate? The answer is to develop a culture of innovation that suits your employee population and your industry.

Read more

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CONNECT 2015 – LAS VEGAS – April 28, 2015 – Hitachi Data Systems Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE: 6501), today announced a leap forward in its technology leadership for delivering software-defined infrastructures that enable customers to simplify IT and free data from traditional hardware and location constraints, making it more accessible for all existing and new analytics-driven workloads. These new and enhanced offerings have been designed to help customers achieve greater levels of information access through virtualized, hyper-converged and scale-out platforms that are built to accelerate the journey to IT as a service (ITaaS) through application-led, software-defined architectures. Hitachi Data Systems also announced today new solutions and services to make society safer, smarter and healthier.

To effectively unlock the value of a software-defined infrastructure, technology must simplify operations through automation, drive insight through better access to information, and improve agility through abstraction that turns fixed assets into flexible resources.

Hitachi Data Systems is delivering on those goals by:

  • Extending its Hitachi Storage Virtualization Operating System (SVOS) to an expanded Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) family
  • Expanding the Hitachi Unified Compute Platform (UCP) family to cover core to edge or small to large converged and hyper-converged infrastructure models
  • Introducing the Hitachi Hyper Scale-Out Platform (HSP) for fast-growing data analytics workloads
  • Bringing to market new software to automate the provisioning and protection of application environments

Storage Virtualization to the Masses

With the newest additions to the Hitachi VSP family – the G200, G400, G600 and the upcoming G800 – Hitachi Data Systems is the only IT vendor to address customer workload requirements from entry to the mainframe with a single software stack. Extending the reach of powerful software capabilities that are built into Hitachi SVOS allows the entire VSP family to offer native heterogeneous storage virtualization and multi-site active-active storage – as well as fully compatible data migration, replication and management. Customers now have the ability to choose systems based on the necessary capacity, performance and price required to meet their business goals, not because of functional difference.

Customers looking at smaller systems will now get access to the same virtualization technology that has existed in prior HDS high-end systems that have achieved the highest overall product and use-case specific scores within Gartner’s Critical Capabilities for General-Purpose, High-End Storage Arrays1. These proven capabilities provide a leap forward in consolidating and simplifying user environments of all sizes and allow simpler migrations, easier management and full resiliency without the complication of appliances.

Creating the Active Data Lake for Big Data Analytics

The hyper-converged architecture of the new Hitachi Hyper Scale-Out Platform (HSP) provides cost-effective compute performance and on-demand capacity. Capable of ingesting massive amounts of mixed data types across a distributed, clustered architecture, the simple, automated management of HSP allows elastic data growth by using Hitachi file system technology with open source management and virtualization software. HSP is the ideal scale-out platform for Hadoop environments, allowing users to analyze data in place and eliminate the need to move large data sets to perform analytics functions for big data.

Automated, Application-Led Storage Provisioning and Data Protection

Hitachi Data Systems is also introducing and enhancing a wide range of software tools that will help users build the ITaaS infrastructure they desire, while delivering greater self-service capabilities to internal users. These new application-aware solutions offer greater automation of, and protection for, critical customer workloads, reducing costs and complexity while increasing efficiency in software-defined environments.

Hitachi Automation Director, a new application that works with the Hitachi Command Suite management infrastructure, provides configurable best-practice-based service templates for simple, application-specific provisioning of storage resources to databases, applications and VDI environments. Built-in support for role-based access control means that, once established, these templates can be used by business users in a move to self-service provisioning.

Supporting Quotes

“The fundamentals of IT are changing. Whether it is the adoption of ‘third platform’ technologies and striking the proper balance among the different modes of IT, or the ongoing move to providing IT as a service, there is real change taking place, all while our customers are trying to move to ITaaS,” said Sean Moser, senior vice president global portfolio and product management, Hitachi Data Systems. “Customers are looking for ways to be more agile and flexible to gain a competitive advantage. Hitachi is delivering a new generation of software-defined technologies built to support the changing needs of customer application environments to deliver on those goals and connect what works today with what’s next.”

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اتحاد عمالقة التقنية آبل وسامسونج يثير ذعر سوق الهواتف الذكية

قرر “تيم كوك”، الرئيس التنفيذي لشركة آبل، في شهر أغسطس الماضي وقف العراك والمشاحنات مع شركة سامسونج، وقام بالعديد من الخطوات لإحلال السلام فيما بينهما.

وصل صدى الخلافات والقضايا القانونية بين الشركتين إلى جميع وسائل الإعلام ونشر عنها الكثير من التقارير، وكان الخلاف بين الشركتين على استخدام براءات الاختراع التي تخص كل منهما، ولكن الآن اتحد عمالقة التقنية لتطوير بعض المكونات المستخدمة في الأجهزة الجوالة.

ووفقاً لصحيفة بلومبيرج، ستقوم سامسونج بتطوير معظم معالجات A9 التي ستقوم آبل باستخدامها في هواتف آي فون القادمة، حيث ستقوم شركة TSMC بتطوير 30% من هذه المعالجات مما يترك لسامسونج 70% منها.

تشعر العديد من الشركات بالقلق من هذا التعاون ومنها “سان ديسك” و “جلوبال فاوندريس”، وعدد أخر من الشركات التي كانت تزود آبل بالمكونات، حيث كان آبل من أقوى عملاء سانديسك وخاصة أن الشركة أعلنت انها ستفقد 19% من عائداتها بعد خسارتها لعميل كشركة آبل.

يتوقع المراقبين الأعمال الشركتين، أن يمتد التعاون فيما بينها لأبعد من المعالجات الشاشات التي تقوم سامسونج بتطويرها بشكل متواصل، وان يكون لعملاقي التقنية تأثير كبير على أعمال باقي الشركات التي تعمل على تطوير مكونات الهواتف الذكية، ونحن بدورنا ننتظر ثمرة هذا التعاون وما سيتقدمه الشركتين من تقنيات لعالم الهواتف الذكية.


The elements of digital business and the seven lessons of transformation

1. Mobility is an element of all digital transformation initiatives – Sutcliff makes the case for designing for a mobile-first and even a mobile-only world by painting the following picture for us, “Today we have about 6 billion people on the planet, about 4 billion have mobile technology and 5-7 billion “things” are connected. All of these numbers will explode in next couple years. We think that we will add 9 billion new connections to the Internet next year.” It’s no wonder Accenture Digital is looking at mobility as one of the primary factors in the way people think about changing the way they are working. “We will see a massive shift in what the technology enables us to do in the next 12-18 months,” predicts Sutcliff

2. Digital business transformation expand beyond marketing – Marketing has been one of the early users of digital technology, and digital has done a huge service for creating better customer engagement, but what we are seeing today, says Sutcliff, is an equally explosive opportunity for the way the enterprise is managed and how operations are executed. “We see digital customers continue to expand and explode beyond marketing. When we start looking at products, features and new services, we see the next generation of business being able to be fundamentally rethought because of digital,” says Sutcliff.

3. Digital business transformation is a C-suite agenda – With the roles of the CIO, COO, CMO and CDO mixing and mingling, exactly who is leading the digital transformation revolution? Sutcliff says that ultimately it’s a C-suite agenda where they come together and all work together. “Because businesses can now buy things as a service and buy things that enable them, digital is being seen not just as a technical issue but as an enabler to the whole business that encompasses operations at every level of the organization,” says Sutcliff.

Sutcliff has huge respect for the role of the CIO and says they are continuing to lead digital transformation initiatives. But while he reports that organizations are starting to understand that technology can enable the business in terms of systems of engagement, the challenge for CIOs is that they must continue to maintain the legacy environments that have been built up over the past 20-30 years and keep track of systems of record while also being innovative. “We are starting to see the buyer move outside of the CIO suite to the CMO who is thinking about how to engage with customers and we also are seeing a lot of CDOs get announced to represent a broad coalition across the leadership team and to understand what the business units are trying to achieve,” says Sutcliff.

4. Digital transformation is less about technology and more about business outcomes – Given the pervasive nature of digital transformation across so many parts of the organization, thinking about how to implement and measure success can be daunting. Digital analyst Brian Solis found that while 88% of companies report undergoing a digital transformation, only 25% have mapped the digital customer journey and have an understanding of new or underperforming digital touchpoints. To avoid investing in digital transformation without insight or purpose, Sutcliff recommends starting with a value map to determine what matters in your organization, the key drivers, and measure those out: “Try not to measure activity, but outcome. Focus on what matters and measure that.” He also says it’s important to separate what’s possible and what you could do from what’s important and what you should do, “It’s very easy to do digital because it sounds interesting and makes you look good, but it takes more work and thinking to do it effectively. I don’t think we should do innovation for innovation sake, but rather taking specific problems and thinking about how to solve those problems.”

5. Data analytics is at the core of digital business transformation capabilities – Just as technology has to be core to designing a product, analytics is the core of digital transformation. Real time delivery of analytics speeds up the execution velocity and improves the service quality of an organization. “Analytics is the backbone of our ability to do digital transformation,” says Sutcliff, “every single one of our client assignments includes mobility and some level of analytics.” Using advanced analytic techniques, such as machine learning and cognitive engines, enable Accenture Digital to take very complex science and make it available in a way that is easy to understand. “We are looking at how to take analytics and make it available at all levels of the organization where people or machines are trying to make decisions,” shares Sutcliff who also points out that when it comes to big data and analytics, humans must be inserted into the process. “We are trying to enable humans to do a better job of the things that they do well, like understanding context. If you try to take analytics and supersede as opposed to enable the human element is where we see analytics go wrong. When that happens, humans are resistant, so it’s important to try to provide a balance.”

6. Balance cultural change from both top-down and bottom-up directions– Sutcliff says that getting that top-down/bottom-up balance right is where organizations will see the most massive change occur. Ray Wang of Constellation Research agrees that organizations need to develop a culture of digital DNA. From the top, it’s imperative (not optional) to set the context about being inclusive in leveraging all the different technologies that we call digital. If the leadership gives people the digital technologies to help them redefine their industry and the way they work this gives them the model to effectively make change happen. It is equally important to have bottom-up buy-in where the individuals being impacted believe it will give them the ability to do a better job and the ability to succeed at the things they think are important in doing their daily work. The leadership can help influence this by helping them to understand that it’s not a new tool that is disruptive to what they are doing, but enables them in what they are doing.

7. Business, products and services innovation is a team sport (the eco-system) – Innovation and digital transformation efforts are inextricably linked. Sutcliff feels that CEOs need to grasp the concept that technology is not something that happens under the covers of the business and that CEOs need to adopt a mindset of working in an eco-system and taking advantage of new technologies that can rapidly redefine how they create and deliver products and services. He sees start-ups as an extension of corporate innovation efforts, but also advises those charged with leading the digital transformation efforts for their companied to listen to the eco-system that they are already a part of – lots of customers, employees and business partners with great ideas and energy to make a change.

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IT pros need to stop using old frameworks for addressing security and deal with today’s reality

IT pros need to stop using old frameworks for addressing security and deal with today’s reality because the old view of security is no longer useful, attendees at the RSA Conference 2015 in Las Vegas were told on Tuesday.

It is as if security pros are explorers who have reached the farthest reaches of their known world, said RSA President Amit Yoran during his keynote address.

“We have sailed off the map, my friends,” Yoran says. “Sitting here and awaiting instructions? Not an option. And neither is what we’ve been doing — continuing to sail on with our existing maps even though the world has changed.” He laid out a five-point plan for security executives to start addressing the right problems.

First, accept there is no security that is 100 percent effective. “Let’s stop believing that even advanced protections work,” he says. “They do, but surely they fail too.”

Second, security architectures need pervasive visibility of endpoints, the network and the cloud. “You simply can’t do security today without the visibility of both continuous full packet capture and endpoint compromise assessment,” he says. “These aren’t nice to haves, they are fundamental core requirements of any modern security program.”

One of the problems of current security is that once an intrusion is detected, it is dealt with as quickly as possible, but without considering whether it is part of a larger attack scheme. “Without fully understanding the attack, you’re not only failing to get the adversary out of your networks, you’re teaching them which attacks you are aware of and which ones they need to use to bypass your monitoring efforts,” he says.

Third, pay more attention to authentication and identity because they are used as elements in many attacks and as stepping stones to more critical assets. “The creation of sysadmin or machine accounts or the abuse of over-privileged and dormant accounts facilitates lateral movement and access to targeted systems and information,” he says.

Fourth, make use of threat intelligence from commercial vendors and from Information Technology Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISAC). The feeds should be machine-readable so responses can be automated to improve response times when threats are confirmed. At the same time, businesses should stop using email as the platform for communicating response plans among those working on the plans. “In fact, we’ve seen adversaries compromise mail servers specifically to monitor sysadmin and network defender communications,” he says.

Fifth, inventory the organization’s assets and rank them in order to set priorities on where security dollars will be spent. “You have to focus on the important accounts, roles, data, systems, apps, devices — and defend what’s important and defend it with everything you have,” he says.

Probably not coincidentally, RSA announced at the conference a blending of authentication, identity governance and identity and access management (IAM) into a single platform called RSA Via. It is designed to centralize identity intelligence and give it awareness of the current environment so defense isn’t based on pre-set, static rules. The first offering in the RSA Via family is Via Access, software as a service that enables using multiple authentication methods that may already be in place on an organization’s mobile devices.

Also, RSA Security Analytics — which provides the context of what malicious activity may be at play on the network by giving visibility from endpoints, across the network and into the cloud resources that may be part of the overall enterprise — has new features. It gives a view of attacks against mobile and customer-facing Web applications.

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